Titles and Affiliations

Distinguished University Professor
Schools of Medicine and Public Health
Director, Cancer Prevention & Control Research
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of California
Los Angeles, California
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board

Research area

Identifying breast cancer patients at high risk for long-term consequences of treatment and developing interventions to improve their quality of life.

Impact

Breast cancer patients are living longer thanks to the availability of effective therapies. However, these treatments can have long-term side effects that can impact the quality of life for patients following treatment. Dr. Ganz has been at the forefront of describing long-term treatment effects and concerns of breast cancer survivors. Specifically, she focuses on the cognitive function in patients who have persistent memory and concentration problems after undergoing breast cancer treatment. She has also surveyed oncologists to understand how they prepare breast cancer patients for post-treatment survivorship. This has enabled her to test interventions that address the needs of cancer survivors and will ultimately reveal ways to help patients better manage these issues—these studies will therefore have a significant impact on their daily functioning and quality of life.  

Progress Thus Far

Dr. Ganz and her team have been following a group of women for up to 6 years after the end of breast cancer treatment with questionnaires, blood work, and detailed testing of cognitive function. Her team has also surveyed medical oncologists to determine how they can better inform breast cancer patients about the treatment recovery period and improve the recovery process in their patients. In the last year, Dr. Ganz and her colleagues initiated a clinical trial to evaluate the role of inflammation in cognitive changes after endocrine therapy. Specifically, they are testing the use of  oxaloacetate—a biproduct of energy metabolism that has been shown to reduce brain inflammation—in laboratory models and may thus be a treatment option for patients suffering from cognitive complaints related to breast cancer treatment. 

What’s next

In addition to ongoing studies, her team will examine the relationship between hormone levels and cognitive function as well as the role of endocrine therapy on accelerated aging in early-stage breast cancer. They expect their multi-pronged approach to yield information that will impact survivorship care in the future. 

Biography

Patricia A. Ganz, MD, a medical oncologist, has been a member of the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine since 1978 and the UCLA School of Public Health since 1992. Since 1993 she has been the Director of Cancer Prevention and Control Research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 1999 she was awarded an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship for "Enhancing Patient Outcomes across the Cancer Control Continuum." Dr. Ganz was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2007. She served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors from 2002-2007 and on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of Directors from 2003-2006. She received the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor in 2010. Dr. Ganz is a pioneer in the assessment of quality of life in cancer patients, and has focused much of her clinical and research efforts in the areas of breast cancer and its prevention. At the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, she leads the scientific program focused on Patients and Survivors. Her major areas of research include cancer survivorship and late effects of cancer treatment, cancer in the elderly, and quality of care for cancer patients. Dr. Ganz currently serves as Vice Chair of the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Forum, and Chaired the 2013 IOM consensus report entitled "Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis."

BCRF Investigator Since

2001

Donor Recognition

The Estée Lauder Award

Areas of Focus